Los Rojiblancos continue their resurgence under Michel with a hard fought victory away to the east coast side, which records its second successive league defeat.
Valencia has slumped to a 2-1 home defeat against an improving Sevilla at Mestalla.
Tino Costa put the home side ahead with a powerful drive, but Gary Medel leveled the score with a headed effort. Twenty minutes from time Jesus Navas grabbed the winner, sweeping the ball into the empty net to clinch successive wins for the Andalusian side.
The first few minutes showcased what an even game this would prove to be. It was end to end stuff, with both teams exchanging corners. The home side looked more composed, and held the majority of possession, but was not creating much with it.
Los Rojiblancos were most dangerous from counterattacks. Early on, Jose Antonio Reyes' jinking run resulted in a free kick, but Ivan Rakitic could only fire into the wall. Jesus Navas then had a brief glimpse at goal, but his shot was tame and easily saved by Vicente Guaita.
Then, on 25 minutes, Valencia went ahead. A beautiful passing move ended in Jordi Alba laying off the ball for Costa on the edge of the area where he bent it into the bottom corner of the net.
Los Che were perhaps a little complacent with their advantage, because only 10 minutes later they allowed a cross by Rakitic from the right to bounce in the area, and Medel threw himself to head into the goal, bringing the sides level.
Sevilla had its tails up and won a number of corners in the next few minutes. Frederic Kanoute had a shot blocked after Alvaro Negredo’s strong run.
The visiting side was still looking dangerous on the counterattack. Adil Rami managed a crucial last ditch tackle to stop Negredo in his tracks after a skilful run, and Reyes then had a huge chance to put the underdogs in front, but his strike was saved well by Guaita.
Valencia was struggling to create chances. Sevilla on the other hand was creating many, and with 20 minutes remaining, Navas put the team in red ahead. It was a simple tap in after Kanoute poked the ball past the goalkeeper Guaita, who was left embarrassed, as the winger took the it in stride to score.
The home support urged their side to go for an equalizer, but Sevilla refused to budge, defending valiantly. The visiting side was never going to let the lead slip, and wsa able to see out what was a crucial victory.
The result does not have too much of a bearing on Unai Emery’s team, which remains cemented in third position. Michel on the other hand will be happy with the way his side has turned around its poor form. After only taking two points from a possible 24 before last week’s game with Osasuna, the club looks as if it has turned the corner, and will be desperate to push for a European place.Follow GOAL.COM USA on